The Democratic chairman of the House education committee joined the call Thursday opposing the appointment to the committee of a controversial freshman Republican congresswoman who has called the 2012 Sandy Hook elementary school massacre a hoax.
“House Republicans made this appointment and Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy must explain how someone with this background represents the Republican Party on education issues,” Representative Bobby Scott, from Virginia, said in a statement. “He is sending a clear message to students, parents, and educators about the views of the Republican Party.”
Marjorie Taylor Greene, the freshman Republican congresswoman from Georgia, has been the object of criticism in recent days after CNN and Media Matters uncovered Facebook posts in which she claimed the 2012 mass shooting that took the lives of 26 people, including 20 children, was a hoax. She also said that the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., “was not real.”
Scott’s comments came after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also blasted the appointment of Greene to the committee. “What could they be thinking? Or is ‘thinking’ too generous of a word for what they might be doing?” the Democratic speaker said at a press conference Thursday. “It’s absolutely appalling.”
To longtime higher education lobbyist Terry Hartle, the American Council on Education’s senior vice president for government relations, Greene illustrates the increased political polarization on the committee. “A couple decades ago, the Education and Labor Committee had plenty of political moderates on both sides of the aisle who wanted to get things done,” he said. “Today, the political leanings of the committee members are, if anything, further to the left and right than the views held by their full caucuses.
“It used to be that members of Congress sought — and often found — solutions that allowed both sides to claim a victory. But today the goal is not simply to ‘win’ but, at the same time, to make certain that the other side ‘loses.’ Since neither party will accept losing, this dramatically reduces the chance of bipartisan compromise and nothing gets done,” Hartle said.